There’s a reason movies are a standard date-night decision. For the price of a ticket, some ungodly expensive popcorn (and a slushie if it’s a special occasion), you can laugh, gasp, cry and cover your eyes in fear in an air-conditioned room surrounded by strangers.

Film makes us feel. And as much as “Reading Rainbow” tried to teach us differently, nothing quite compares to that mesmerizing mixture of moving pictures and sound.

Now do you understand why companies that utilize video see 27 percent higher clickthrough rates, 34 percent higher web conversions and 41 percent more website traffic?

Of course, creating a powerful, loveable video that sells is easier said than done. Art and commerce mix like oil and water much of the time, and marketers trying to hit consumers on an emotional level often miss the mark.

Story is what takes video marketing to the next level.

Fortunately, Brafton’s brigade of video marketing experts is on hand to help clients walk the line between creative and commerce.

X marks the spot

For Brafton Videographer Aaron Muffett, the X-factor for compelling video is storytelling.

“It’s the story,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how good the visuals, sound, music, or whatever else are without it.”

Senior Video Producer Gina Tempesta agreed.

“When I interview clients for live-action videos, I try to get them to tell me a story, either about what the company’s name means or how their business has changed over the years to adapt,” she said. “I find that it’s more about telling the viewer who the client is rather that what it is.”

Senior Video Producer Hannah Perlmutter puts stock in personality.

“The best of the best have fun with it,” she said. “Whether it’s a catchy jingle, unique animation techniques, or just a fun script, we all notice the truly special ones.”

Of course, marketing isn’t meant to play at the multiplex. Length is also key to keep in mind.
“These days, I really don’t recommend businesses go over two minutes for a video,” Hannah continued. “In an ideal world, everything would be at the one-minute mark. People often click away if the video is too long. Plus, unless you’re explaining a super-complicated process, one minute should be sufficient to get your message across.”

Not all video is live action, however. Brafton Animator Reuben Gordon highlighted the importance of design for effective animated video content.

“The design is what immediately separates a high-quality piece from your run-of-the-mill bargain bin products,” he said. “A well-thought-out design accounts for even the most minute detail, and is put in place to accentuate and enhance the message trying to be conveyed through visual cues. Excellent design can be subtle, and the viewer may not even consciously notice it, but it all adds up to a solid and cohesive product that the viewer just ‘feels’ when they see it.”

Filming fundamentals

It’s not all intangible ideation. Video marketing sinks or swims based on basic video principles.

“Everything affects how a video feels,” Aaron said. “Music can change a tone, sound effects can add humor, and so on. Visually, shooting someone from close up and low can make them look like a hero. Then pull the camera further out and raise it above them and they will feel small and weak.”

Successful video content is much more than a point-and-shoot affair. The details marketers must keep in mind are staggering.

“Angles and lighting convey feelings, whether more dramatic or more personal,” Hannah said. “But you also have to think, what’s in the background of the shot? What does the b-roll consist of?  What speed is the footage? Dark colors will convey something more serious, whereas bright colors make a video feel more light. It’s all incredibly important in conveying the proper message.”

While every video marketing professional has his or her own preferences, all can agree on one thing: Video content should never feel like a sales pitch.

“I think the biggest no-no for videography is to make it too sterile or too salesy or infomercial-y,” Gina said. “The viewer wants to be engaged, not reminded that they’re being sold something.”

Also keep in mind that video is only one part of a comprehensive content marketing strategy. It’s meant to complement, not be the be-all-end-all of your messaging. Let other types of content do some of the heavy lifting.

“Specifics are important, but if you break the flow of the narrative with mile-long lists of bullet points, the viewer’s eyes will gloss over and they’ll move on to the next thing,” Reuben said. “Nobody wants to takes notes while they’re watching a video, and if a viewer is flooded with every little bit of information, they can feel overwhelmed and lose interest. Titillate their curiosity with the most pertinent information instead, which should naturally motivate them to visit your website to find out more.”

Hey, there’s a reason people gobble up movie trailers and bemoan commercials. Both are advertisements; one’s just a hell of a lot more interesting.

Eric Wendt is a writer and editor at Brafton. He discovered his love of words after realizing he was terrible at math. If he's not updating his Tumblr with poetry he's too embarrassed to share, there's a good chance he's out in search of the perfect pale ale.